Melbourne, Australia – Top seed and defending champion Victoria Azarenka bounced back from a tough third-round match to breeze past Elena Vesnina and into the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.
Azarenka needed three sets to upend Jamie Hampton on Saturday, but had little trouble dispatching Vesnina, 6-1, 6-1 at Rod Laver Arena. The native of Belarus was broken in the first game of the second set, but wound up winning the next six to finish the match in 57 minutes.
Next up for Azarenka is another Russian in Svetlana Kuznetsova, a two-time major champion who outlasted former World No. 1 and 10th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.
American Sloane Stephens reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal with a hard-fought 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 victory over Bojana Jovanovski. The 19-year-old Stephens, who came in seeded 29th, broke at love to go up 6-5 in the third set, then celebrated when Jovanovski hit into the net on match point.
Stevens' prize for her career best result at a major may be a date with Serena Williams. The third seeded Williams is in action later Monday against No. 14 seed Maria Kirilenko.